A violent fire broke out on Saturday morning at an apartment building in the Antwerp district of Deurne. Neighbours and local garbage collectors helped evacuate residents before firefighters arrived on the scene.
13 people, intoxicated by the smoke, were transported to the hospital. One person is in a critical condition, emergency services report.
Fire crews were called to the apartment building at around 09:00 for a fire on the second floor. “When we arrived on the scene, a resident had already placed a ladder against the facade and was helping the residents out,” explained Kristof Geens, spokesperson for the Antwerp fire department. “He got three children and one adult to safety,” police spokesperson Wouter Bruyns added. Two trash collectors helped rescue people from the building.
In total, 13 people (eight adults and five children) were taken to hospital, including the two heroic garbage collectors, the police reported. “Most of the victims were intoxicated by the smoke, and some suffered from burns. The life of one of the adult residents is in danger,” the Antwerp police said.
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Damage to the building is significant. An investigation is underway to determine the cause of a fire, but investigators are leaning towards an accidental origin.